Pac-12 bowl primer: MAACO Las Vegas Bowl

This week we'll be taking a snapshot look at all of the bowl games including Pac-12 teams.


Washington (7-5, 5-4) vs. Boise State (10-2, 7-1)

Where: Las Vegas

When: Sat. Dec. 22, 3:30 ET/12:30 PT


About Washington: Washington has been surprisingly mediocre on offense this year, as junior quarterback Keith Price has struggled after a strong sophomore season, but the defense has been much improved under first-year coordinator Justin Wilcox. The Huskies survived a brutal early schedule and posted impressive wins over Stanford and Oregon State. They rode a four-game winning streak into Pullman to take on woeful rival Washington State in the season finale, but the Huskies coughed up an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter, thereby casting a pall over the season. The bowl game is big for them, particularly because this team sets up well for 2013.

About Boise State: The Broncos shared the Mountain West Conference title with Fresno State and San Diego State. The Broncos are looking to win their third consecutive Las Vegas Bowl. Last year, they whipped Arizona State and they beat Utah in 2010. While Boise State built its reputation on high powered, creative offenses, this year's Broncos are most defensive minded. They rank sixth in the nation, yielding just 14.9 points per game, while they pass for just 216 points per game. Boise State's two losses came at Michigan State and at home to San Diego State.

Key players, Washington: Price. Will the Huskies be able to throw? Boise State has yielded an FBS low three touchdown passes this year while grabbing 16 interceptions, which ranks 17th in the nation. Boise State is seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense. It seems unlikely the Huskies will be able to rely exclusively on RB Bishop Sankey. Price will need to turn in a strong game, which could bolster his confidence heading into the offseason.

Key players, Boise State: Senior RB D.J. Harper is the key guy for Boise State because he takes pressure off QB Joe Southwick and the passing game. He rushed for 1,065 yards and 15 TDs this year, with nine of those TDs coming in the final six games. He came up big in important games, too, rushing for 112 yards vs. BYU, 122 vs. Fresno State and 130 vs. Nevada.

Did you know: Boise State and Washington have played just once before -- a 24-10 Huskies victory in 2007 -- but they will play consecutive games as they also open the 2013 season against each other in newly remodeled Husky Stadium on Aug. 31... Huskies defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox first made a name for himself running the Broncos' defense from 2006-09. Boise State has lost just 15 turnovers all year. It ranks fourth in the nation in turnover margin.